Other Heart Healthy Foods

January 3rd, 2006

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There are plenty of other foods that are good for your heart that aren’t key parts of the polymeal diet. Let’s take a look!

Olive Oil

With it’s high content of monounstaturated fatty acids and antioxidants, olive oil has been shown to protect against heart disease. It helps to control “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and increases “good” HDL cholesterol.

Soya Beans & Soya Oil

The health benefits of soya beans and soya oil are mainly due to the isoflavones they contain. Research has suggested that consumption of soya may help to reduce cholesterol and prevent plaque from building up in arteries.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain a cartenoid called lycopene that is a potent antioxidant that has been shown to reduce heart disease. Combining tomatoes with olive oil helps the lycopene be absorbed by the body, and cooking tomatoes doesn’t destroy the lycopene, so tomato sauce or canned tomatoes are just as good as fresh.

Oat Bran

Oat bran contains a fiber called beta-glucan that has been shown over and over to reduce cholesterol levels. Just a bowl of oatmeal (the real stuff, not the packaged sugary stuff) can lower one’s total cholesterol by up to 23%.

Tea

Tea, whether it be white, green, black or red, contain powerful antioxidants called polyphenols that can help prevent heart disease.

Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans

Chickpeas are rich in dietary fibre that helps lower cholesterol. As if that weren’t enough, they also contain significant amounts of folate, which helps to lower homosysteine levels, and magnesium, which is a natural calcium channel blocker. Plus, they taste great, so make some hummus today!

Can following the Polymeal Diet help you lose weight?

Yes.

Well, yes but

The main key to losing weight is consistently taking in less than you expend each day, and that means controlling your portion sizes.

This can be done with any diet, really, but there are some advantages to the Polymeal Diet that can tip the scales in your favor.

First, the diet promotes the consumption of lots of fruits and vegetables. Just cutting back on starches and junk food and replacing them with fresh veggies and the occassional fruit will help you feel full while eating fewer calories.

The addition of dark chocolate to the diet can help with satisfying a sweet tooth. Just make sure to watch your fat intake for the rest of the day.

Fish is a fantastic source of lean protein and healthy fats when it’s not fried in oil. Bake, barbeque or steam your fish. If you find it too bland, and some herbs, spices or lemon juice to perk it up.

You can lose weight on the Polymeal Diet, but you still need to watch your portion sizes and get some exercise. It’s good for your heart and your waistline!

If you’re allergic to fish, vegetarian or vegan, and you want all the health benefits of the Polymeal diet then you need to find another source of the omega-3 fatty acids that make fish so heart-healthy.

There are two types of omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish oil. The first, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), is readily synthesized by your body by converting alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

ALA is found in flax seeds, so supplementing one’s diet with flax seed oil, or crushed flax seeds takes care of the EPA production. It’s worth mentioning that heating flax seeds destroys the omega-3s, so if you’re using the oil or the seeds in a hot food, it’s best to add them after. And you must crush the flax seeds. Your body can’t digest their hulls, and you’ll lose out of all the goodness inside if you don’t break them open first. Coffee grinders are fabulous for this task.

The second omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is more difficult. The body doesn’t synthesize DHA as easily, so supplementation is advised.

Fish is the primary and most readily available source of DHA. However, there are a couple of vegan-friendly brands of DHA supplements available:

Getting 5 a Day

May 25th, 2005

Getting your 5 servings of fruits and vegetables can keep your heart healthy, reduce your risk of developing cancer, help your vision and keep you in the aging-gracefully camp.

Check out the 5 a Day site for a run down of the benefits of eating different colored fruits and vegetables.

There’s a great article over at Convenience Store News about the health benefits of almonds, and how they can keep your heart healthy, your body fat low, and your blood sugar stable.

Link: What a Nut: Studies Crack Almonds’ Health Benefits

Roasted Garlic Salmon

May 24th, 2005

This combination of salmon, garlic, and rosemary is a sure hit, and heart-healthy too!

Ingredients
  • 1 head of roasted garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 salmon fillets, approximately 6-7 ounces each
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed if you’ve got it
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F
  2. Combine the roasted garlic, olive oil and butter in a bowl and mash together with a fork to form a paste.
  3. Season the garlic paste with salt and pepper if desired.
  4. Place the salmon fillets on a baking sheet and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the salmon.
  6. Spread the garlic paste evenly over the salmon fillets.
  7. Bake the salmon for 15 minutes, uncovered. It should be just cooked through.
  8. Garnish the dish with the chopped rosemary, and enjoy!

Flavonoid Rich Chocolate

May 20th, 2005

Not all dark chocolate is the same.

Many companies use processes that destroy or remove the heart-healthy flavonoids from dark chocolate. Dutch or alkali processed cocoa has most of the flavonoids stripped away, so try to avoid chocolate made with it.

Conversely, the Mars Corporation has developed a process called Cocoapro that retains a high level of the flavonoids in the cocoa. In fact, Dove makes a dark chocolate bar that is so high in flavonoids that it is used in research studies.

Generally, the darker the chocolate is, the better. Information on flavonoid levels in different brands of dark chocolate is hard to find. Dove is the only one that I’ve seen concrete information about, but other high-quality brands likely have decent levels of flavonoids as well.

So, to sum up, avoid Dutch or alkali processed cocoa, go as dark as possible, and look for the Cocoapro label on Mars products.

Roasted Garlic

May 20th, 2005

Roasting garlic takes away the sharp bite, leaving a more mellow flavor behind.

It’s simple to do in a terracotta garlic roaster. If you don’t have one, you can use tin foil over a ramekin or baking dish instead.

Ingredients (per head of garlic to be roasted)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Slice a bit off the top of the head of garlic to expose the cloves.
  3. Let the garlic sit for 10-15 minutes [why is important?]
  4. Put the garlic cut side up in the terracotta roaster or ramekin.
  5. Drizzle the tops of the heads with olive oil.
  6. Put the top on the roaster, or cover the ramekin tightly with foil.
  7. Bake for 55 minutes, until cloves are tender.
  8. Allow the heads to cool, then squeeze out the cloves.
Posted in Garlic | 1 Comment »

Garlic in the Bedroom?

May 19th, 2005

Regular consumption of garlic not only helps you to keep your heart healthy, it can help men with erectile dysfunction.

Garlic helps to widen the arteries and increase blood flow to the groin, which aids in erections. Many men with heart disease also have impotency problems due to poor circulation.

The creation of nitric oxide, a chemical that is involved in causing erections, is also enhanced by garlic compounds.

Scientists recommend taking garlic supplements to get a high enough dose of garlic to be effective, but eating it helps too.

So next time you’re making a romantic meal for you and your sweetie, add some garlic!

Reference: Garlic a ‘power boost’ love drug - News.com.au

Lifehacker has a great post today with a new trick for cutting onions.

I’d never heard this one before, and I’m looking forward to trying it out!